There are so many wonderful uses for this clean, crisp, high smoke point oil. But whenever I saw it on the market shelves or online, I wondered how it was made.
It seems that there are several large manufacturers who do a fabulous job of making it available to us all.
However, the individuals that amaze me most are the winemakers that lovingly carry out the painstaking task of creating grapeseed oil. They are literally squeezing oil out of a stone-hard seed.
Here’s something you’ll probably have some trouble wrapping your mind around:
1 ton of grapes = 1 bottle of grapeseed oil
Let me set the scene for you:
Consider that first they have to grow the grapes, often on considerably steep terrain, hiking up and down, up and down. They harvest by hand, holding five-gallon buckets, and have only forty-eight hours each year in which to do it.
Now that they have the grapes in hand, they commence the winemaking process.
The grapes are pressed and the juice is accumulated.
It is made into wine, and what’s left is called pomace. It includes the stems, pulp, skin, and seeds of the grapes.
The pomace is dried, and sifted by hand through metal sieves that are designed with holes just big enough for the tiny grape seeds to fall through.
But where is the oil? These seeds are tooth-breakingly hard.
Believe it or not, each little seed contains just a tiny bit of oil. They are placed in a bladder press, where the precious oil drizzles out. Yay!
Off to the bottling room…
If you are fortunate enough to get your hands on one of these special bottles, you are in luck. But a lot of people see grapeseed oil, buy it, and then they don’t know what to do with it.
Check out our tips for the best ways to use this excellent product in your own culinary endeavors:
1. Stir Frying
The beauty of this oil is that it has a light, clean flavor, which allows the vibrancy and freshness of your food to shine through.
It has a very high smoking point of 420°F, which makes it perfect for a sizzling hot wok.
2. Deep Frying
Light in flavor (some say flavorless) and with the ability to withstand high heat, it is wonderful for cooking fried fish, chicken, tempura, and yes, even pickles in a deep fryer.
This is where grapeseed oil shines. Its light color and body allow the color and flavor of your ingredients to be the star of the show.
4. Searing Meat
Because of its ability to get hot-hot-hot, getting a hard sear on your meat is easy.
Whether you finish your dish on the stovetop or in the oven, you will have caramelized brown perfection.
5. Roasting Vegetables
Most of us think of grabbing the olive oil to drizzle on our veggies for roasting, but sometimes you want their garden-fresh flavor to pop.
Try it with squash, broccoli, or leeks. Just add a light coat of oil onto the bottom of a good roasting pan, throw in your veggies, and stick in the oven, on top of the stove, or on the grill.
6. Salad Dressings
Grapeseed oil is wonderfully adaptable, and pairs with any flavor.
Try it in dressings with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, or a honey base. Or use it as the base for a homemade herb-infused oil.
Not only can you use it to grease your grill, you can even brush veggies, or anything else that you’re afraid might stick.
It makes a great addition to sauces and marinades for the barbecue, too.
I’m happy to say that, whether you are using a grapeseed oil varietal that comes straight from a European vineyard or a larger oil producer, it is readily available.
Foodal recommends La Tourangelle Grapeseed Oil, available from Amazon
It also comes in a variety of infused flavors that are perfect for quick salads, drizzling on crusty bread, or whatever your imagination inspires you to create.
I can hardly wait to hear about your grapeseed oil success stories – feel free to tell me all about them in the comments.
If you haven’t already, you really must try it now. Enjoy!
About Marla Tetsuka
As a professional chef, author of multiple cookbooks, and graduate of the esteemed Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts, Marla brings a professional touch to the community that we call Foodal.